High on confidence after the triumph in South Africa, Indian women’s cricket team will be aiming to put up another stellar show against Australia in the three-match ODI series beginning in Vadodara on Monday.
The series is a part of the ICC Women’s Championship in which India had defeated South Africa in their opening set of matches.
Australia boast of a formidable line-up comprising skipper Meg Lanning, all-rounders Ellyse Perry, and wicket-keeper Alyssa Healy.
Note: Tune in at 830 am IST for The Field’s live blog of the first ODI
When the two teams last met, it was a 30-minute mayhem by Harmanpreet Kaur that turned the fortune of the women’s cricket in India by 360 degrees. Mithali Raj is likely to be forever indebted to her deputy Harmanpreet for that knock of 171 in the World Cup semifinals.
“You really can’t plan during the first match of the series. They have some really good players like Perry, Lanning and Velani. We have plans for them. We need to get the momentum our way. Middle-order has been a weakness for us but we are working on it,” said vice-captain Harmanpreet on eve of the match.
She was asked about the new central contracts where the elite women players stand to earn Rs 50 lakh per annum. While there have been comparisons that even the lowest men’s group (C) is getting double, Harmanpreet seemed least bothered.
“Look it is the job of BCCI to look into these matters and we as players have the duty to play well for our country. I believe that if we play well, the riches will follow. We don’t have to ask for anything,” the newly appointed Punjab Police DSP said.
Coach Tushar Arothe, who has played all his first-class cricket for Baroda, opined that the first 40-45 minutes will help the seamers.
There are a few areas on which Arothe is working with the women.
“We have to improve our fielding and also the contribution of tail-enders. If you all have seen, since I took over, I have ensured that all our tail-enders get to bat at the nets.”
Senior bowler Jhulan Goswami is out with injury and Arothe said that Shikha Pandey and Pooja Vastrakar will have to shoulder more responsibility in Bengal player’s absence.
India: Mithali Raj (captain), Harmanpreet Kaur (vc), Smriti Mandhana, Veda Krishnamurthy, Punam Raut, Jemimah Rodrigues, Sushma Verma, Ekta Bist, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Deepti Sharma, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Mona Meshram, Poonam Yadav, Sukanya Parida
Australia: Meg Lanning (captain), Alyssa Healy, Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ellyse Perry, Elyse Velani, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachel Haynes, Jess Jonassen, Sophie Molineux, Megan Schutt, Beh Mooney, Belinda Vakarewa, Amanda Jade-Wellington.